Some media claim that it already exists.Others publish positive results from a recent study at the Endocrine Society in Chicago.Many others are left with the message from a university that has financed them: that their experiments with the male pill have been most positive.And there are those who go further and headline “the male contraceptive pill has arrived without side effects” or “they create a male contraceptive pill to be infertile for only a few hours.”
Given this, a wave of criticism has been highlighted, especially in the virtual world. The irresponsibility and lightness with which information about it is aired can cause serious damage not only among men but, consequently, in their partners.
But, does it exist?
“The male pill does not exist. That’s the truth. If they tell you otherwise, they don’t practice medicine,” said Dr. Anselmo Palacios Torres. This internist and comprehensive endocrinologist with long-term training in Andrology, has been studying reproductive and sexuality problems in men since 1976.
“The pill does not exist, but there are attempts and experiments to make it a reality,” he added. “There are teams of scientists who have developed a pill that has been shown to be 99% effective in mice with no side effects. These tablets are called DMAU and they are about to officially start their human trials,” he stressed.
Palacios indicated that the procedure, in theory, is quite simple. Mice are given the pill for several weeks during their meals. A month or a month and a half later, there is a very significant decrease in the amount of spermatozoa in the animals, thus preventing their partners from getting pregnant.
It is known that there is increasing interest in the male hormonal contraceptive. Also, that the most popular research to date with a drug of this type, from 2016, caused dozens of men to feel depression, suffer liver damage, increased acne and libido changes only in the initial stages of development. Although the investigation did not stop because of that, as suggested on social networks, but because the test was no longer safe: one of the participants committed suicide and another saw his sperm function forever ruined. Some results that anticipated a difficult future for this product. From there came the DMAU research, whose lead author is Dr. Stephanie Page, an endocrinologist at the Washington School of Medicine.
From the 1970`s
However, Dr. Palacios dates back to the 1970s, shortly after the female contraceptive pill became legal worldwide in 1960.«To get to the pill, you must first talk about the injection. I’m talking about my experience dating back to 1976,” he said. «I was educated in Los Angeles, California, and I was incorporated into a male contraception program that was being carried out in 4 or 5 North American centers to develop the testosterone method. This hormone was injected once a week to a group of men, and to another every 15 days, for a year. There were 39 volunteers, who had already had children. After a couple of months, it began to be seen that the spermatozoa were disappearing by 90% in most cases, all thanks to Testosterone Enanthate,” he described.
But men are still very reluctant to receive injections or other procedures used for contraception. That is why, according to the doctor, interest in the creation of the pill is born, something that, he emphasizes, is not even sold on the black market.”The male pill does not exist. That’s the truth. If they tell you otherwise, they don’t practice medicine,” says Anselmo Palacios.
Types of male contraceptives
According to Dr. Palacios, apart from injected or taken hormones, spermicides have been used, that is, those substances in creams or in the form of foam that are usedvaginally. “I clarify, this does not completely eliminate the sperm, but it helps to eliminate us after natural intercourse with direct ejaculation into the vagina.”He added that it has no side effects, although aesthetically they are uncomfortable. “That tends not to like between men and women,” he said.
He reported that there have been other tablets that are used in psychiatry and that have been prescribed, but it is not recommended. “Pills that improve psychiatric symptoms such as depression cause absence of ejaculation. And in the absence of it, it acts as a contraceptive method. It is a significant side effect that has made it impractical and unethical to recommend them as a treatment for a man to decrease his fertility,” he said.
Ingredients and Side Effects
What should a pill contain if it exists? “The most important thing: testosterone. The classic sex hormone that men secrete in the testicles, together with progesterone, which is the classic female hormone, produced by the ovaries. This complements the effect of the male to enhance the reduction of spermatozoa, “he described.
Very little is known about the effects of the pills. “But if we focus on testosterone, you usually gain a lot of weight, red blood cells rise, the skin tends to become oilier, acne appears in areas such as the back, as well as the face. Likewise, some compounds could injure the liver,” he listed. “There may be effects on the testicles themselves, the heart, increase bad cholesterol levels, some may be procoagulant, that is, they induce the formation of thrombi in the legs, prostate growth and may raise hemoglobin,” he added.He added that progesterone, despite being in such small doses, can decrease libido or sexual desire.
Myths about the male contraceptive pill
For the doctor there are 3:
- Men do not like to take responsibility for controlling fertility. “There is a certain degree of systemic sexism. They see the woman as the one in charge of taking care of that part of the relationship.
- Fear of side effects, especially loss of libido. They feel that it can be something permanent.
- The irreversibility. “This, quite the contrary, is false because in a period of at least 2 months using an injection method, for example, the spermatozoa reappear in the male testicles,” he pointed out.
To ensure safety in its use, however, there are some tests that men should take into account before. “It is like any other medicine; they are hormones. And if they are not hormones, they are chemicals, and we must do our routine tests. They must go to the internist, endocrinologist, urologist to do their complete general and prostate check-ups,“prescribed the expert.
A cultural change that must be assumed
Asked if the only thing that really works as a male contraceptive is a vasectomy and a condom, he says not at all. «There are radical options that are not reversible like the first. This is not an ideal scenario for any man who is not convinced if, later in his life, he will want to procreate,” he said. «The condom is not liked by most couples. It is the reality, although many do not want to admit it.
In particular, Palacios believes that a male contraceptive pill will be sold on the market, but there is still a long time to see positive results in a practical way.“You have to keep in mind that not everyone can take it either. That is a problem. Those who support the production of these tablets need to tell the public. Just like viagra. In addition, it must guarantee reversibility. It’s fair,” he said.
Male contraceptive pill: much to do
Palacios considers that there is still a lot to be done. «Based on my investigations and experiments, especially the facts outside the country, I can attest that the Latino is not prone to act as a laboratory rat or guinea pig; that is something that takes time away from us. we must begin to build trust, from academics, experts and researchers, to hospitals, clinics and governments,” he warned.
For the endocrinologist, despite the misinformation that accompanies the studies of the male contraceptive pill, the investigations are a step towards a necessary future for all.
«The arrival of this method has been very interesting. As a doctor, I consider it a motivation to continue learning about urology. In fact, if it doesn’t work, we’ve learned why not. It has taught us how the testicle, sperm and sexual life can be modified, improving or deteriorating it with this type of hormone,” he said. “Medical research, successful or not, in terms of results is still very good. All learning is always evolutionary”, he concluded.